Gossip linking Naby Keita with a summer exit from Liverpool has been dismissed, with the midfielder potentially set for a 'bigger role' next season.
The 25-year-old Guinea international is now in his second season as a Liverpool player, having signed from RB Leipzig for around £52m - the third-biggest transfer fee paid in the Reds' history.
Having made the Bundesliga Team of the Season in 2017 and then the Europa League's Squad of the Year in 2018, Keita was expected to take on a key role in Liverpool's midfield upon his arrival. But his start in the Premier League was muted, while he has also suffered with injury issues.
Earlier in the week a transfer story from fan site Milanlive.it claimed that Keita could be made available - perhaps on loan - this summer, with several Bundesliga clubs interested in bringing him back to Germany.
Being 'Milanlive', the article also cited Milan's interest - with the Serie A club likely to be under the stewardship of former Leipzig chief Ralf Ragnick next season.
This dubious story was picked up by a number of English media outlets, with news slow pre-restart.
However, in a Q&A for The Athletic, talk of a Keita summer exit has been debunked by club journalist James Pearce (a somewhat more reliable source than Milanlive), who claimed that things are actually looking pretty good for the star at Liverpool.
"The staff have been raving about how good Keita has looked in training. Let's hope he can transfer that to the games and stay fit for the rest of the season," Pearce wrote, in response to a question about whether Liverpool were losing patience with the player.
"I don't sense that Klopp's patience is running out. He believes that Keita will have a bigger role to play next season."
With funds tight ahead of the summer, due to the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic (see: Timo Werner), it stands to reason that a player like Keita will be given more time to impress with big-money comings or goings unlikely.
Elsewhere in the Q&A, Pearce suggested that Keita - who scored in a recent 6-0 friendly win over Blackburn - could even start on Liverpool's return to action against Everton on Sunday, with the third midfield berth 'a toss up' between the Guinean and Gini Wijnaldum.